Durham sees lots of accidents, few serious injuries from storm

Feb. 13, 2014 @ 05:46 PM

By all accounts, traffic in the city of Durham was a mess on Wednesday.
Motorists reported more than 200 traffic accidents inside the city, with 31 involving injuries, according to Kammie Michael, spokeswoman for the Durham Police Department. None of those injuries was life-threatening.
A majority of the calls for accidents, traffic hazards and abandoned vehicles came between 1 and 6 p.m., she said.
On Thursday, officers checked abandoned vehicles along Interstate 85, Interstate 40, the Durham Freeway, U.S. 70, N.C. Highway 54 and N.C. Highway 55 to make sure no one is stranded.
“Officers are tying yellow ribbons on the mirrors of vehicles that have been checked,” Michael said.
Police aren’t calling tow trucks for vehicles unless they’re in a travel lane or posing a major traffic hazard. If someone abandoned a car in the city and it gets towed, they should call the Durham Police Department main desk at 919-560-4427.
“We are still encouraging people to stay off the roads,” Michael said. “Road conditions continue to be treacherous in many areas.”
In Durham County, Deputy Paul Sherwin of the Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that since noon on Wednesday, deputies had dealt with 124 abandoned vehicles, 52 wrecks, 37 stranded motorists and one downed tree.
“None of the crashes we responded to involved serious injury or death,” Sherwin said. “The overwhelming majority were minor finder-benders involving cars sliding into one another or objects like trees and guardrails.”
Deputies worked through the night checking abandoned cars for stranded motorists, marking each car with a strip of crime-scene tape as they went.
Sgt. Maurice Devalle of the N.C. State Highway Patrol said he found about two dozen cars abandoned along I-40 between the Wake and Orange county lines. It took him three hours to check the vehicles for occupants. None of the cars required towing, he said.
Devalle’s wife and two young children also were stuck in traffic, but ultimately made it home safely.
The Highway Patrol’s division office near U.S. 70 provided a port in the storm for motorists who left their vehicles on the roadside, staying open late so people had somewhere warm to shelter, Devalle said.
Follow on Twitter at @HS_WesPlatt. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/wesplattheraldsun.